break-in

[ breyk-in ]
/ ˈbreɪkˌɪn /

noun

an illegal entry into a home, car, office, etc.

Origin of break-in

First recorded in 1855–60; noun use of verb phrase break in

Definition for break in (2 of 2)

Origin of break

before 900; Middle English breken, Old English brecan; cognate with Dutch breken, German brechen, Gothic brikan; akin to Latin frangere; see fragile

Related forms

Can be confused

brake break

Synonym study

1. Break, crush, shatter, smash mean to reduce to parts, violently or by force. Break means to divide by means of a blow, a collision, a pull, or the like: to break a chair, a leg, a strap. To crush is to subject to (usually heavy or violent) pressure so as to press out of shape or reduce to shapelessness or to small particles: to crush a beetle. To shatter is to break in such a way as to cause the pieces to fly in many directions: to shatter a light globe. To smash is to break noisily and suddenly into many pieces: to smash a glass.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for break in (1 of 2)

break in


verb (adverb)

(sometimes foll by on) to interrupt
(intr) to enter a house, etc, illegally, esp by force
(tr) to accustom (a person or animal) to normal duties or practice
(tr) to use or wear (shoes, new equipment, etc) until comfortable or running smoothly
(tr) Australian and NZ to bring (new land) under cultivation

noun break-in

  1. the illegal entering of a building, esp by thieves
  2. (as modifier)the break-in plans

British Dictionary definitions for break in (2 of 2)

break

/ (breɪk) /

verb breaks, breaking, broke or broken

noun

interjection

boxing wrestling a command by a referee for two opponents to separate

Word Origin for break

Old English brecan; related to Old Frisian breka, Gothic brikan, Old High German brehhan, Latin frangere Sanskrit bhráj bursting forth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with break in (1 of 2)

break in


1

Enter by force, as in The thieves broke in through the back door. [Mid-1500s] Also see break into.

2

Also, break in on. Interrupt or disturb something unexpectedly, as in His assistant broke in with the bad news just as we were ready to sign the agreement, or He broke in on our private talks. [Mid-1600s]

3

Train or instruct someone in a new job or enterprise, as in Every semester she had to break in a new teaching assistant. [Late 1700s]

4

Loosen or soften with use, as in It takes a while to break in a pair of new shoes.

Idioms and Phrases with break in (2 of 2)

break


In addition to the idioms beginning with break

  • break a leg
  • break away
  • break bread
  • break camp
  • break cover
  • break down
  • break even
  • break ground
  • break in
  • break into
  • break it up
  • break loose
  • break of day
  • break off
  • break one
  • break one's ass
  • break one's back
  • break one's balls
  • break one's fall
  • break one's neck
  • break one's word
  • break out
  • break out of
  • break ranks
  • break someone
  • break someone of something
  • break someone's heart
  • break someone's serve
  • break someone up
  • break the back of
  • break the bank
  • break the ice
  • break the news
  • break the record
  • break through
  • break up
  • break wind
  • break with

also see:

  • get a break
  • give someone a break
  • make a break for it
  • make or break
  • never give a sucker an even break
  • take a break
  • tough break

Also see underbroke.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.